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Big Brother Is Watching You

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Prologue

It takes John nearly ten minutes of being led through the studio after they've been bundled out of Mycroft's car to work out where they are.

“Hang on,” he says slowly. “This is a TV studio.”

“Correct,” says Sherlock, following Mycroft down yet another corridor filled with stressed-looking tech guys.

“This is the Big Brother TV studio,” clarifies John as they pass a sign.

“Correct again,” says Sherlock. “You're on a roll, John, well done.”

John stops where he is and Sherlock, Mycroft, and Mycroft's group of Mysterious Men In Suits all stop as well. “When you said that Mycroft could get me a place in the safest house in the country, this was not what I was expecting.”

“Probably not,” says Sherlock. “But if I'd told you that, you'd never have agreed to stay in it.”

Oh great, more bloody manipulation and half-truths. John glares at him.

Sherlock's face softens almost imperceptibly and he sighs. “It really is the best place. The Big Brother house has more cameras than any other safe house in the country, all of which are constantly watched by thousands of people live over the internet. It also has extraordinarily high levels of security – aimed at keeping the press out, but they will serve just as well to keep Moriarty out. And besides which, he's probably expecting this move about as much as you were, so he'll be totally unprepared for it. It's perfect.”

“It's ridiculous!” exclaims John. “You can't honestly make me become a Big Brother contestant just because my life is in danger. I hate the bloody show.”

“You did promise to do whatever it takes to keep you safe,” Mycroft reminds him. “Now, come on. We haven't much time.”

John makes a disbelieving noise, but follows as they set off down the corridor again. “I can't believe this,” he moans. “Harry is going to go nuts. And how were you even able to get me in as a contestant on such short notice?”

“Mycroft has a lot of connections here,” says Sherlock over his shoulder as they pass a harassed-looking woman carrying four different suit jackets. “Big Brother was his idea, you know.”

“What?” exclaims John.

“Oh yes,” said Sherlock. “It was years ago, when he was in the bread-and-circuses branch of the government.”

“The what branch?” asks John, feeling increasingly as if he's actually on You've Been Framed.

“That was merely the nickname,” says Mycroft. “Do be quiet, Sherlock. You know that some of these things are national secrets.”

Sherlock rolls his eyes, but shuts up. They turn a corner and find themselves in the main studio. Hanging around the walls are several large photos of various strange-looking people and one of John, which looks a bit out-of-place.

There's also one of Sherlock.

Sherlock turns on Mycroft. “No way,” he says immediately. “I need to be outside, able to deal with Moriarty.”

“That's merely pride,” says Mycroft. “Anyone can deal with Moriarty – in fact, it would be better if it wasn't someone whose thinking and methods he's spent several years studying. Meanwhile, both you and John need to be tucked away safely.”

“You can't make me do it,” says Sherlock fiercely, backing away from Mycroft's Mysterious Men In Suits.

“No,” agrees Mycroft. “But you'll do it anyway.”

“Why on earth would you think that?” asks Sherlock.

Mycroft takes Sherlock to one side and talks to him in a low voice that John can't overhear. Sherlock glares at him throughout the entire conversation, then glances back at John for a moment with a faint frown. When they come back, there's a defeated slump to his shoulders.

“This is going to be hell,” he says to John. John just nods his agreement.

 

Day One:

The housemates enter the Big Brother house. During the first hour, Sherlock makes an impression by pointing out all the lies and exaggerations made during the introductions. It is not a good impression.

When it comes to John's turn, he tells them he is Sherlock's colleague, and there is a heated discussion over whether it's fair for Big Brother to have allowed in two people who already know each other. John tells them that it would have been far less fair to have subjected them to Sherlock on his own. Sherlock counters by pointing out that it would have been John sent in alone, not him, and that would likely to have led to him redeveloping his psychosomatic limp from sheer boredom, and possibly gaining a few extra psychosomatic injuries as well.

It is discovered that seven out of the ten housemates do not know what 'psychosomatic' means. During Sherlock's incredulous rant about their sheer stupidity, it is discovered that Lisa, who had claimed that she knew what it meant, thinks it means 'caused by a psycho', and has been picturing John as the victim of some sort of horror film cliché.

Sherlock spends fifteen minutes deploring the level of intelligence and lack of knowledge in the room. In the end, John tells him to shut up and stop acting like a child, and reminds him that he didn't know that the earth orbited the sun until recently.

Sherlock retires to his bed for a sulk.

 

Day Two

Sherlock spends six hours in the Diary Room, sitting in silence and glaring at the camera as if engaged in a staring contest. Some of the other housemates become concerned.

Dannielle asks John, “Is he nuts? I thought they weren't allowed to put nutjobs in here, in case they cracked and went on a murderous rampage with a machete.”

“He's perfectly sane,” John tells her. “Besides, there are no machetes in here.”

Dannielle looks unreassured.

Eventually, John goes in and drags Sherlock out. “Wrong big brother,” he points out.

“He's watching,” says Sherlock in a dark voice. “He's always watching.”

“I'm sure he is,” replies John, “but I don't think glaring at him is going to change his mind.”

Sherlock retires to his bed for a sulk.

 

Day Three

Jake spends forty-five minutes talking about how much he misses his son. Sherlock eventually lets out a huff of annoyance and says, “He's not even your biological son. Your impotency would have made his conception impossible unless your girlfriend was sleeping with someone else.”

There is an awkward silence. Jake glares at Sherlock. Sherlock appears not to notice.

 

Day Four

Sherlock interrupts a conversation that Jasmine is having with Brian about why she quit nursing in order to point out that it was more to do with the series of malpractice suits than the long hours and ungrateful patients. A discussion about Jasmine's nursing skills ensues, followed by one about Sherlock's character.

John, who has been reading in the bedroom, emerges in time to stop Jasmine attacking Sherlock with a ladle.

 

Day Six

Sherlock hasn't been to the Diary Room since his staring contest on Day Two. Big Brother spends three hours asking him to go there, while Sherlock ignores them in favour of lying on the sofa and humming the Brandenburg Concerto loudly enough to chase the other housemates out into the garden.

Big Brother calls John to the Diary Room instead. They inform him that if Sherlock doesn't come to discuss his thoughts and impressions on a regular basis, they'll be forced to take action. John leaves the Diary Room, sits on the sofa, and says something to Sherlock that the microphones can't pick up.

Sherlock glares at him, but goes immediately to the Diary Room, where he lays bare every tiny manipulation that he has observed Big Brother engaging in, the order in which they have already decided the housemates will leave, and who will win. He also manages, somehow, to make some personal comments about the woman who is providing the voice of Big Brother, which leads her to burst into tears.

Sherlock is never called to the Diary Room again.

 

Day Eight

Gemi sprains her wrist falling off the trampoline. John patches her up. Afterwards, she goes to the Diary Room and describes him as 'adorable.'

 

Day Nine

Gemi and John spend two hours on the sofa talking about daytime talkshows, until Sherlock sits down next to John and starts talking about putrefaction rates.

Gemi leaves after Sherlock uses the phrase 'liquifying tissue'.

John appears to be equally interested in both conversations.

 

Day Eleven

Jake goes to the Diary Room. He tells Big Brother that Sherlock is clearly a psychopath; that they are putting the entire house in danger by having someone like that in it and that he is going to end up murdering them all.

Big Brother reassures him that there is no need to worry and he leaves in a huff to find Sherlock staring at him from the kitchen while gently stroking a knife. He escapes to the garden.

Sherlock catches John's eye and they both laugh.

The other housemates in the room also escape to the garden.

 

Day Twelve

The first round of voting. Every single housemate votes for Sherlock, including both Sherlock and John.

“If he doesn't get out of here soon,” says John, “he's going to have a breakdown. Or kill someone. Or both.”

Sherlock attempts to vote for himself twice. When he's informed that that's not allowed, he refuses to place his second vote. “Every idiot in this godforsaken place is just as painful to be around as the others,” he claims. “Except for John, of course,” he adds. “You're not allowed to let him leave.”

The two housemates up for eviction are Sherlock and Jake. John avoids nomination by only a couple of votes. The other housemates seem divided over whether or not he's a genuinely nice guy, or even crazier than Sherlock and just better at hiding it.

Sherlock is overjoyed to be nominated until John points out that it's unlikely that Mycroft will allow him to leave the Big Brother house that easily.

Sherlock retires to his bed for a sulk.

 

Day Thirteen

John falls asleep on the sofa and wakes up with his shoulder aching and stiff. Gemi offers him a massage, which he agrees to. She spends ten minutes rubbing vaguely at his back while he lies on his bed before Sherlock interrupts.

“Are you trying to make it worse, idiot?” he demands. “You clearly have no idea what you're doing – step aside.”

Sherlock gives John an extremely long and thorough massage while Gemi sulks in the girls' bedroom. Afterwards, both John and Sherlock remain on John's bed for a while, lying next to each other and quietly chatting.

 

Day Fourteen

Jake is voted out of the Big Brother house.

Sherlock retires to his bed for a sulk.

 

Day Fifteen

There is an increasing concern amongst the housemates as to the source of an unpleasant smell in the boys' bedroom. An investigation lead by Kyle discovers a partially decomposed badger in Sherlock's bed.

The badger is removed and destroyed, and Sherlock is informed that he will be forced to eat the next dead animal found inside the house. Sherlock seems more intrigued by the idea than threatened.

 

Day Sixteen

Despite the removal of the dead badger, the smell in the boys' bedroom is still a problem. The housemates vote to incinerate Sherlock's bed, and it is taken outside and set on fire before Big Brother can intervene.

Sherlock retires to the sofa for a sulk.

 

Day Seventeen

Lisa and Jasmine discover that Sherlock used their toothbrushes while examining the dead badger. Lisa cries. Jasmine attempts to attack Sherlock with a ladle, but John stops her.

 

Day Eighteen

Gemi attempts to talk to John about her dreams of starting her own make-up company once she leaves the Big Brother house, but John is more concerned with Sherlock, who is still sulking on the sofa.

 

Day Nineteen

Sherlock has not moved from the sofa for three days. During that time, John has brought him twenty-three cups of tea, two of which have been drunk, and nine pieces of toast, none of which have been touched.

The second round of voting. Sherlock and Dannielle are nominated for eviction. The housemates take it in turns to go to the Diary Room in order to beg the public to vote Sherlock out. Lisa cries for the entirety of her turn.

No one votes for John at all, because no one wants to risk being left to cope with Sherlock without him.

 

Day Twenty

Sherlock still has not moved. John goes to the Diary Room and informs Big Brother that if Sherlock is not given something to do, both he and Sherlock will leave the Big Brother house.

“Are you listening, Mycroft?” he says. “Moriarty be damned, I'm not watching him go through this.”

Two hours later, Big Brother delivers a violin to the Big Brother house. Sherlock immediately moves from the sofa in order to pounce on it.

 

Day Twenty-One

Dannielle is evicted from the Big Brother house. Sherlock retires to the sofa with his violin for a sulk. The other housemates retire to the garden for a sulk. Lisa cries.

 

Day Twenty-Two

Sherlock has been playing his violin for thirty-three of the last forty-eight hours. Each of the housemates has attempted to persuade him to stop at least once during that time, except John. Jasmine has threatened him with a ladle four times. Each time, Sherlock has merely started to play louder.

The housemates start to discuss a group attack on him in order to confiscate the violin and set it on fire. John makes it clear that he will not appreciate any attack on Sherlock's violin, and would be forced to defend it. He heavily implies that such a defence would end painfully for the other housemates. References are made to certain incidents that took place during the Afghan war.

The housemates abandon their plans. Sherlock is allowed to continue playing, unmolested.

 

Day Twenty-Three

John takes the violin from Sherlock. Sherlock lets him, watches as John carefully places it back in the case, then allows himself to be led to John's bed, where he collapses face-first into sleep.

The other housemates breathe a sigh of relief.

 

Day Twenty-Four

Sherlock spends the day following John around, watching his every move. When Gemi asks what he's doing, he merely responds with, “Observing,” without taking his eyes off John.

John continues his day as if there is nothing odd about Sherlock's behaviour.

At 11.52pm, when John goes to bed, Sherlock settles, cross-legged, on the end of his bed.

“You can share the bed properly whenever you decide to sleep,” says John as he closes his eyes.

Sherlock observes John sleeping until 3.12am, then crawls in to bed next to John and goes to sleep.

 

Day Twenty-Six

Sherlock steals every cigarette in the Big Brother house while the other housemates are sleeping and climbs onto the roof with them. By the time he is found, he has chain-smoked through three-quarters of a packet.

None of the other housemates are able or willing to climb onto the roof. While they are attempting to get him down, he smokes another half a packet. Eventually, John is fetched. He stands below Sherlock and glares at him for two minutes, then announces that if he doesn't come down, he will go to the Diary Room and start telling some of the stories of Sherlock's childhood that Mycroft has told him. He adds that if Sherlock makes himself sick, he will not look after him.

Sherlock comes down from the roof, but leaves the cigarettes up there.

The third round of voting. Sherlock and Kristi are nominated for eviction. The lists of reasons that the housemates give for nominating Sherlock include the phrases 'mental torture', 'psychotic nutjob' and 'if he doesn't leave, I'll murder the bloody tosser myself'.

 

Day Twenty-Seven

Several of the housemates are going through involuntary nicotine withdrawal, because Big Brother refuses to replace the cigarettes that Sherlock smoked. Tempers are frayed, to say the least. Lisa spends several hours crying.

 

Day Twenty-Eight

Jasmine attempts to attack Lisa, Sherlock, Kyle, Sherlock again, Brian, Sherlock, and finally John with a ladle, but is stopped by John each time. The ladle is eventually taken away from her.

Kristi is evicted from the Big Brother house. Sherlock retires to John's bed for a sulk. The other housemates gather in the Diary Room to demand Sherlock's immediate removal from the house, but Big Brother refuses their request. Lisa cries.

 

Day Twenty-Nine

Sherlock manages to destroy almost all the food in the Big Brother house. He claims it was part of an experiment that would have revolutionised the way people eat if it had worked. It did not work.

Jasmine attacks him with her ladle and John does not attempt to stop her. Sherlock escapes to the roof and sulks there for the rest of the day. When he eventually comes down and attempts to crawl into John's bed, where he has been sleeping since his own bed was set on fire, John tells him to piss off.

Sherlock retires to the sofa for a sulk.

 

Day Thirty

The housemates' task this week is to put on a show for Big Brother. As their budget for the next week rests on how well they perform at this and Sherlock's actions have left them with barely any food and no cigarettes, this task is extremely important to the housemates. They spend several hours rehearsing.

Sherlock has refused to engage in any of Big Brother's tasks. After watching Lisa rehearse her version of Tick Tock for the seventh time, during which she forgets two-fifths of the lyrics, John goes to see him where he is fiddling with his violin on the sofa.

“You have to help us,” he says. “Play something for it at least – it's not as if you don't play all the time anyway.”

Sherlock glares at him. “I am not a performing monkey.”

John grits his teeth and sits down next to Sherlock. “Look,” he says in an intense voice. “This is all your bloody fault. It's your fault I'm here, and it's your fault there's no bloody food and I'm bloody hungry, Sherlock.”

Sherlock plucks a discontented note on the violin. “I left the jam for you,” he says.

John glares at him. “There's no bloody bread to put it on!”

Sherlock plucks another discontented note, but has no other reply.

 

Day Thirty-One

Sherlock appears at the rehearsals for the show. He spends an hour and twelve minutes watching in silence, then announces that the entire thing is terrible and they need to stop all rehearsals. Immediately.

“I will provide the show,” he says. “No need to worry.”

The other housemates are unsure of this plan, but John reassures them it will be fine.

Sherlock spends the rest of the day and night lying on the sofa with his eyes shut. Gemi asks him if he shouldn't be rehearsing and he opens his eyes just long enough to say, “I am mentally preparing,” in scathing tones.

The other housemates continue to prepare their own show, just in case.

 

Day Thirty-Two

For his show, Sherlock performs three monologues from Hamlet, Macbeth and Oedipus Rex, using only the rudimentary props provided Big Brother.

He is completely convincing and deeply moving in every role. The other housemates, the majority of whom would have described Shakespeare or Greek tragedy as rubbish and a waste of time, are spellbound. Lisa cries at seven different points. Even Jasmine is visibly moved, although she attempts to hide it. They do not bother performing their own show afterwards.

Big Brother doesn't just award them full points for the performance, but also doubles the food budget. The housemates are jubilant.

During the celebration, Lisa attempts to thank Sherlock. Sherlock narrows his gaze and says, “I didn't do it for you, or any of these other halfwits. If you did starve to death, it would only be of benefit to the human race.”

When John brings him a cup of tea half an hour later and tells him he was brilliant, he smiles at him and agrees to play his violin so that the other housemates can dance. It is discovered that he knows a large number of Lady Gaga songs, which he blames on the radio station that is played in the morgue.

Several of the housemates have a discussion before ultimately deciding that they don't want to know why he might spend a lot of time in a morgue.

He stops playing midway through a song when Gemi attempts to dance with John, and retires to John's bed for the night. John follows him only a few minutes later, before he can properly start to sulk.

 

Day Thirty-Three

Big Brother provides alcoholic drinks as part of the reward for Sherlock's performance. There is a drunken party. Lisa and Brian disappear to the whirlpool and emerge an hour later glowing with smugness.

Sherlock looks Lisa up-and-down. “I see it wasn't as good as it was with Jasmine two nights ago. Faking it really is unproductive, you know – how will he ever learn to get better if he doesn't know just how bad he is?”

Lisa flushes red while Brian goes white.

“I hope you realise that this kind of promiscuous exhibitionism isn't going to get you any further than a few months of fame as a page-three model before you descend back into obscurity,” he continues. Lisa lets out a tiny, hurt sob, then runs off to the girls' bedroom.

Sherlock looks smug right up until John hisses, “That was completely unnecessary!” and goes off after her. Gemi follows close behind.

Sherlock retires to John's bed for a sulk.

John and Gemi spend an hour attempting to console Lisa. They are unsuccessful.

The fourth round of voting. Sherlock and Brian are nominated for eviction. Most of the housemates have given up any attempt to get the public to vote for Sherlock, although Lisa does spend two hours in the Diary Room, crying.

 

Day Thirty-Four

During a discussion that Kyle, Brian and Lisa are having about Sherlock, Kyle refers to him as a 'fucking poof'. John, who has been making toast near-by and ignoring the conversation in the same way he ignores all the ever-increasing number of anti-Sherlock conversations, interrupts.

“Don't call him that,” he says.

Kyle is surprised. “What's wrong? It's true, isn't it? He is a fucking poof – you are too. Crawling into bed with each other as if we wouldn't fucking notice, it's fucking disgusting.”

John glares at him. “Sherlock is sleeping in my bed because you set fire to his, you know that. We're not involved with each other, but even if we were, it wouldn't give you the right to talk like that.”

Kyle rolls his eyes. “Fucking over-sensitive arse-bandits,” he mutters.

John punches Kyle hard enough to knock him to the floor. Brian takes a careful step away from him.

“Chill, mate,” he says.

“You can all say what you like about Sherlock,” says John in a calm, intense voice. “God knows that most of it's true, and what isn't really doesn't matter, but I won't put up with homophobia.”

He retires to the garden with his toast. The other housemates avoid him for most of the rest of the day.

 

Day Thirty-Five

Gemi spends an hour and thirty-seven minutes talking around the subject before finally asking John if he's gay.

John shrugs. “A bit,” he says. “Why, is that a problem?”

Gemi looks conflicted. “Not if it's only a bit,” she says. She takes a deep breath and then puts her hand on John's knee. “I really like you,” she confesses.

John looks at her hand for a long moment. “That's- Uh. That's really flattering,” he says. “But these aren't really good circumstances for starting something.”

Gemi removes her hand, looking disappointed.

Brian is evicted from the Big Brother house. Sherlock retires to John's bed to sulk.

John joins him twenty minutes later and pets his hair for a while. Eventually Sherlock rolls over to look at him and says, “I hear you've been defending my honour.”

“Our honour,” corrects John.

Sherlock watches him with narrow eyes for six minutes, during which time John becomes uncomfortable. Eventually his face lights up with a blinding realisation, and he pulls John down onto the bed, where he spends a rather long time kissing him.

John appears to approve of this action.

 

Day Thirty-Six

Sherlock spends the day trying to persuade John to have sex with him. John responds to all his arguments with, “I am not going to have sex in front of all these TV cameras.”

Sherlock retires to John's bed to sulk. John joins him before he can properly get into the sulk and they kiss for a while. When Sherlock attempts to take it further, John escapes to the garden.

 

Day Thirty-Seven

John and Sherlock's change in relationship status has caused consternation amongst the other housemates. Jasmine is convinced that it's merely a stunt in order to increase their publicity. Kyle is clearly disgusted by the whole thing, although he refrains from saying anything. Gemi spends rather a lot of time moping in the girls' bedroom.

At one point she corners John and says, “I thought these weren't good circumstances for starting anything,” in a bitter voice.

John frowns briefly, then shrugs. “I think this started a long time ago,” he replies. Gemi is unappeased.

At 11.47pm, John goes to bed and discovers a naked Sherlock already there. He has smeared jam over some of his more personal areas. John makes him leave, pointing out that he's got jam all over the sheets and exposed himself in front of all the Big Brother viewers.

Sherlock scoffs. “As if I care about that.”

John glares at him. “You do realise that both Mycroft and Moriarty are almost certainly amongst them? Do you really want to have sex in front of your brother and your arch-enemy?”

Sherlock retires to the sofa to sulk. He does not pause to put on any clothes.

 

Day Thirty-Eight

Jasmine is the first housemate up. She leaves the girls' bedroom to find Sherlock lying naked on the sofa, still covered in jam. The whole house is woken up by her outraged shouts about the 'fucking pervert'.

Sherlock informs her that if she thinks jam counts as perversion, then her sex-life must be extremely vanilla. Jasmine attempts to attack him with her ladle and he escapes to the roof, still naked.

John brings him clothes an hour later and tells him that he's an idiot. He says it in a fond way though, and smiles at Sherlock as he climbs down.

 

Day Forty

The fifth round of voting. Sherlock and Gemi are both nominated for eviction. Jasmine delivers a forty-five minute presentation in the Diary Room, using multiple visual aids, detailing precisely why Sherlock should be voted out.

 

Day Forty-One

Kyle steals Sherlock's violin while he is sleeping and hides it. Once Sherlock is awake, it takes him three minutes to find it. Two of those minutes are spent kissing John.

John takes Kyle aside and has a long, careful conversation with him about respecting other people's property. Certain threats are made.

Kyle goes to the Diary Room and tells Big Brother that John is just as much of a psychopath as Sherlock is, and they both need to be taken out of the house and locked up in an asylum. Big Brother thanks him for his concern but tells him there are no plans to section either Sherlock or John.

 

Day Forty-Two

Gemi is evicted from the Big Brother house. Sherlock retires to John's bed to kiss John.

 

Day Forty-Four

Sherlock begins a new project, taking down and dismantling all of the Big Brother cameras one by one. John makes him rebuild each one and put it back as he goes, which he grumbles about but does anyway.

Big Brother asks him to stop, but is ignored.

 

Day Forty-Five

Sherlock has built up a small collection of electronic parts on the table in the main room. The other housemates are beginning to become uneasy, especially as he now hasn't slept for twenty-seven hours and is beginning to look a little crazed.

Kyle goes to the Diary Room and claims he is gathering parts in order to make a bomb. Big Brother informs him that it is impossible to build a bomb with parts from the Big Brother cameras.

After Kyle leaves the Diary Room, he tells Lisa and Jasmine this. John, over-hearing, informs him that Big Brother is wrong, and then details three other bombs that could be made using materials that are easily available in the Big Brother house.

Kyle, Lisa and Jasmine abandon that week's task – learning circus skills – in favour of constructing a bomb shelter at the bottom of the garden.

 

Day Forty-Six

Sherlock takes his collection of hardware to the Diary Room. He reveals that he has found seven cameras that were not put in the house by Big Brother and fifteen transmitters on existing Big Brother cameras that have been sending the signal to somewhere outside the Big Brother complex. He has also found twelve devices that, when activated, would change the camera feed to show anything the controller desired.

He fixes the camera with a hard glare and says, “This house is no longer secure, Mycroft. Your plan has failed. Moreover, you've had forty-six days to eradicate Moriarty – if you haven't succeeded yet, then it's definitely my turn.”

That night, Sherlock and John leave the Big Brother house. They escape over the wall and it's an hour and forty-three minutes before Big Brother is aware that they have left.

 

Epilogue

Mycroft is waiting for them in a large car as they climb over the final fence. Sherlock doesn't seem even a little bit surprised.

“You failed,” he accuses him before they're even properly in the car. “Moriarty was able to reach us in there.”

He takes John's hand as soon as he's sat down, apparently without realising that he's doing it, and John feels himself flush a faint pink at the look Mycroft gives them. He clears his throat and plasters on a look that he hopes says, 'well, yes, I do seem to be romantically involved with your brother, and you probably have had to watch us snogging in bed for hours on live TV, what of it?'

Mycroft gives him an approving look, then addresses himself to Sherlock. “Not at all,” he says. “I was fully aware of those devices. Whilst Moriarty was concentrating on infiltrating the house and watching your antics, he was distracted. I was able to gather this data.” He hands Sherlock a thick folder.

Sherlock flicks through it for a few minutes. “This is his whole organisation,” he says. “Everyone who works for him, everything he's involved with.”

“There is no point in taking out the man if the organisation is left intact,” says Mycroft. “We are almost ready to make our move and take down the entire thing in one go. I was intending to leave it a few more days, just to make certain that the net was perfect, but your escape has necessitated a move up in the schedule. We are on our way now to the headquarters of the sting operation, from where we'll be able to oversee it all.”

Sherlock smiles at Mycroft – the first genuine smile that John can remember ever seeing him give his brother. “Excellent,” he says, handing the folder back. “Then this whole thing was not a complete waste of time.”

“On the contrary,” says Mycroft. “Your time was well-spent.” His gaze drifts down to where Sherlock is holding John's hand. John feels himself blush again.

Sherlock's grip tightens on John's hand. “No comments,” he says in a warning tone.

“I wouldn't dream of making any,” says Mycroft, still smirking. Sherlock glares back.

There's a few minutes of silence as the brothers engage in a silent staring contest and the grip on John's hand gets tighter and tighter. He searches around for another subject in the hopes of saving himself from crushed bones.

“Were you rigging the public vote so that Sherlock stayed in?” he asks in the end. “That's not very ethical.”

Mycroft's smirk turns even smugger. “I took no part in manipulating the voting at all,” he says. “You are correct - it would have been unethical, and besides, I didn't need to.”

“What?” asks Sherlock.

Mycroft's smirk is now so wide that it wouldn't look out of place on a shark. “You've been a massive hit with the public, Sherlock. You won every vote with at least ninety percent, usually more. You're the most popular contestant that Big Brother has ever had. The clip of your monologues has become the most-played You Tube clip of all time, even in countries that hadn't heard of Big Brother before this affair. The clip of your, ah, jam-covered nudity is coming in a close second. An extremely close second – I suspect it will overtake in approximately three and a half hours.”

Sherlock looks horrified. “What?” he repeats.

“You're a celebrity, little brother,” says Mycroft. “I believe that every newspaper, magazine and internet gossip site in the country, and roughly a third of those from other countries, intends to contact you for an interview. At last count, there were two million, twelve thousand and thirty-eight fansites dedicated to you. You've revitalised the flagging Big Brother franchise.”

Sherlock lets out a groan and thumps his head backwards against the car seat. “I will never forgive you for this, Mycroft.”